Coronavirus will not be circulating in the UK by August, the outgoing chief of the country’s vaccine rollout has claimed.

Dr Clive Dix, who led the programme from December until he stepped down last week, said he believed the UK population would be protected from the virus and all its known variants by the summer.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Dix said the UK was on track to meet its target of administering at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine to all adults by the end of July.

When all adults have been vaccinated against the virus, Dix said the UK would have “probably protected the population from all the variants that are known and we’ll be safe over the coming winter”.

The departing vaccine chief said it was his personal prediction that by some time in August, “we will have no circulating virus in the UK”.

According to government data released on Friday, more than 51m coronavirus vaccinations have been administered across the UK. As a percentage of the total UK population, 52.5% have received their first dose of a coronavirus jab and 25.1% are fully vaccinated.

Earlier this week, the vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said scientists were investigating options for booster vaccinations in autumn to protect against different variants of the virus and prevent a third wave.

But Dix said he thought that the existing plan for the vaccine rollout would give enough protection against the virus and other known variants, so the booster jabs could be pushed back to next year.

“We may decide that we need to boost the immune response, and we’ve got the vaccine to do that. Whether we’ll need to or not, I would think probably not, but we might still do it in case.

“I really don’t think it should be autumn. We should be thinking about boosting in maybe January or February, because the immune response will be strong.”

He said it may be wise to offer booster jabs to those who are extremely vulnerable to the virus earlier, where the “immune response wanes a little bit faster”, but that there was no data to suggest this was definitely necessary.

This content first appear on the guardian

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